Merge Gaming Network Bans Aussies Again
**You need to scroll to the bottom if you want to start from the beginning**
Update 1:30PM EST
Nothing new has come across the news desk in the last couple hours, it appears Merge is the only one so far but nothing is clear other than that. We have tried to get in touch with someone in Merge Management to get a more in depth answer. No response so far, lets hope they come on because we do enjoy their network. Today does not help.
Stay Right Here For More All Day!
Update 10:16AM EST
Merge Gaming Network has made an official statement that is accurate as of this update! This is what they have released at this time. Directly quoted!
Effective immediately we have had to reactivate our ban on real money play for Australian players using the Merge cashier. A restriction has been put in place so that Australian players can now submit a withdrawal from the Merge cashier, but cannot deposit or play for real money. This has been forced by recent industry changes. We request that you send a mailout to your Australian players advising them that “Unfortunately <site> is no longer able to accept real money play from Australian players at this point in time. You are still able to withdraw your funds via the cashier. We thank you for playing with us and apologise for the inconvenience .”
If you have any questions or concerns please let me [merge support] know.
Update 7:54AM EST
The initial information on Full Tilt was a bit premature but only because they seemed to have pulled the old switcharoo and changed domains to a “.co.uk” address. we also have players in the UK and The Lower Countries checking the place ad networks they play on. We will have much more as this all unfolds today!
Update 7:54AM EST
The Wave has begun for sure, Cain has reported to us that at this time Full Tilt is now off limits as well. No word on its details. Stay tuned!
Update 6:28AM EST
According to one of our Australian OTR members, Cain, he can still also play as normal at Poker Stars and 888.
Update 6:12AM EST
According to one of our Australian OTR members, Cain, he can still play as normal at Virtue Poker. He is checking other rooms and networks as we speak.
Update 5:45AM EST
Merge support says that withdrawals are not restricted and are as normal but there is no telling what the climate will be at 9AM EST when Merge management has a chance to interpret this newest challenge.
I PERSONALLY AM NOT ADVOCATING ANYONE IN AUSTRALIA TO EMPTY THEIR ACCOUNTS!
I would only suggest that Aussies weigh their options very carefully. You know your government and corporation interactions and reactions better than I am.
The Initial Breaking News: at the time of this initial post.
It appears that the Merge Gaming Network has reneged on it’s previous acceptance of allowing Australians to play for real money.
I just finished chatting with Merge and at this time they have relayed to me that I can give this information to you.
This is a direct quote from their representative and has the full support of Merge Gaming behind it. No doctoring.
Unfortunately it is against the law for Australians to use Real Money on our site. Unsure when this will change, but there is some progress in parliament in regards to changing this law. Only a preliminary review has been conducted.
Online Gambling Under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA), Parliament established a regulatory system which makes it an offence to provide certain interactive gambling services to a customer physically present in Australia. The prohibited interactive gambling content under the IGA includes services that are often described as ‘online casinos’ and usually involve using the Internet to play games of chance, or games of mixed chance and skill. Examples include roulette, poker, craps, online ‘pokies’ and blackjack
Merge Management does not report for work until 9AM EST and they will have more information at that time.
The U.S. Justice Department’s Speakeasy Regulation!
It occurred to me that we have been so busy providing all of you such wonderful events to attend; I haven’t had a single moment to blog. Well that moment is now and how lucky for all of you. I’ve heard yesterday’s events described as the “Online Poker’s Black Friday!” I suppose for those involved it is a little dark, not their greatest afternoon. It sounds like from the indictment that they have had many a pleasant afternoon more than me. Perhaps though it is not as dark as black, more a shade of grey that just needs a touch of color. For those that had accounts at Poker Stars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker, and are out any sum of money then we all feel for you. In a time when America specifically needs people on the streets filling cash registers, they continually find ways to strain how they give you the means to do so. There still lie options for the US player to play online. I bet you whatever you lost that they may receive some of the best deals and bonuses ever because of it. So if you were good enough to amass a worthy stack of dough at on the site affected, you can probably do it again and now quicker with the enhanced offers. For our foreign friends, your options are ten fold that of the ones left for our people by the short-sided government they continually put in place. By far one of the tastiest paradoxes of living in a great republic like ours. Ask the Romans how it worked out? It seems trifle to be arguing over gambling like this because it is online and not on the ground where the US can watch over it like the Cosa Nostra.But before I get off on our dying empire, let me address the one that may have actually spawned today, and was conceived five years ago.
You know when a company decides to build something new; how they get a bunch of people in suits to stand in freshly browned dirt in their penny loafers and look excited? Then they cut ribbons and dig useless dents with military color guard shovels. Everyone cheers, the newspaper takes pictures, life is good! Before that pretty shovel was stuck in the ground, those suits spent weeks, more likely months, arguing about where that shovel would strike, how much it would cost, when it would… Authorizing the enforcement of yesterday’s unsealed indictment (See it here) makes the United States Justice Department the big shiny scissors so the U.S. Government can pave the area behind the ribbon for profitable and manageable regulation. Further, they ensure that the regulation benefits new and existing American companies. “Speakeasy Regulation”, means they cleaned the rats out the nest before they will allow it hatch big buds! They’re doing the same with weed in a broader sense and cigarettes will one day fall too. As a smoker, one who wants to quit everyday, I think the tax on cigarettes should be a gajillion percent! Let’s be honest these sites were clearly snubbing the U.S. law, like it or not and were doing essential matchstick man business out in the open. Setting up mob-style fronts is the only guarantee in the gambling world; the house will make sure you don’t win. The more you try to prove to them you can, the farther out they push you when they make the climate ripe for seed. Al Capone is a good example, they find a way if they have to. Hoover’s operation of the FBI fostered it and somewhere they decided if they can’t get you, they will create a law they know you cannot help but break. So yesterday the Justice Department decided it was time to get the brooms and do some sweeping. By clearing out the big three off-shore they pave they way for American online poker rooms to once again take root. Way more important than that is they produce the right regulations that keep the government in the loop, the companies reputable and honest, and most of all competitive at home and abroad. That entire sentence is open for interpretation.
Who can say if this will be the only rug they check under? I imagine they will leave a fair portion of the smaller off-shore rooms to still play when the time comes for welcomed exchange of money for online poker, et al. Unfortunately, you may want to grab a newspaper because those that get left behind will depend entirely on where they are. From that will determine if they stay or go depending on the current relations of trade and treaty between the United States and whatever country is in play. Make sure you know your current events and you can at least stay in the game if not be a step ahead. The US could want to sink a big company in a country that we owed money too and that country could then say, “Well America ok, come on in and get your guys. Oh by the way, we are going to call in on that vig we have on you so if you could just settle that with Mary at the front desk we would sure appreciate it!” Think the US will move to the next name on the list? Don’t be naive to the world-wide schoolyard, it’s recess 24/7! I for sure could be dead wrong, the US Government may want to level the field completely and build a Wal-Mart. Disallowing any company that did business with a single United States Penny during the time the UIEGA was in effect, would leave a molecule size chunk of poker rooms left. New ones would pop up like watching ten minutes of “Meerkat Manor.” Frankly to me, that sounds a little imperialistic, but then again this is an empire like it or not.
And if you have made it this far… The global community I’m sure at some point would stand up and say, “Yeah no thanks, do your witch-hunt on your own turf.” Once and a while the US goes a little over the edge like that guy at the bar who sings a song way louder than decibel levels need to be. Even the Australians who love to copy American anything give us a “G’day mate, catch up with ya later”, salute. So there is no telling yet what the end game will be for all of this. You can bet the house has a good idea of how they want it to go. Sadly, another great paradox of this fair republic is many of your own beliefs, political and spiritual led to the individuals who placed the bad man in your closet. THEN… you all did it again a few months ago with the mid-term elections. At some point folks, you need to roll that TV on to the porch. Any successful gambler will tell you get what you give! Well you got it, now what?